ADHD Hacks: Getting Things Done

When you have ADHD, developing a system to keep all your random must-do’s is absolutely critical.

Well before my diagnosis or even awareness that I had ADHD, I found Getting Things Done, or GTD. This week, i listened to a podcast with the man behind GTD, David Allen and remembered again why he is the best. For more on GTD, this is a summary.

Essentially, you write down everything idea, to-do, or reminder in one place so that you don’t constantly have that what-am-I-forgetting feeling. You can batch process, or do all of one type of task, such as making phone calls, all at one time and move on with your life. You track your ideas and you plan out what to do with them and when.

It has five steps, each to help you capture ideas, or figure out what to do and when.

While GTD was pretty life changing for me, it didn’t instantly solve all my problems because I have ADD. This is one of the worst parts of ADD for me. I love to plan and I love to organize. But it’s quite clear to me that these skills are not  my strong suit.

This ADHD website has 33 tips for staying organized with ADHD. Here is one of my favorites.

16. Create a “launch pad” near the front door.

This is the place to stash things that family members need each time they leave the house — umbrellas, school backpacks, briefcases, pocketbooks, keys, scarves, and so on. The launch pad might have cubbies, pegs, hooks, containers — anything that makes it easy to find and grab things as you head out the door.

The sad part is, I haven’t been able to create a launch pad. First, I had to research shelves. That took 2-3 weeks, mainly for finding a good shelf and reading dozens of reviews. Then I ordered the shelf, and it is on my floor waiting to be put together. My fear is it might take months to do so.

David Allen says repeatedly in the podcast that it’s a great time to live, if you’re smart about it. If it was that easy, we’d all be millionaires. That said, many of us with ADHD have executive functioning issues. Planning and staying organized are critical to how we spend our days.  So even the best system ever (GTD IMO) means nothing if you can’t make it work in your life.

This podcast pushed me to recommit to taking time to plan every day and every week. The relief from not worrying you are missing something is worth the price of a copy of Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.

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